William Thien

The Media and The Unwitting American Citizen as “Media Product”

Posted on: May 4, 2012

I’ve often considered the matter of free speech and the media and how individual citizens are treated as if they are “products” to be packaged and sold to the public by the media, in particular without the express consent of the individual citizen.

Media outlets are known to begin collecting information about private citizens whom they feel may be of interest to the general public further down the road. Telephones are tapped. Private detectives are hired sometimes. “Sources” are paid sometimes for years to accumulate information about people.

Cowardly mechanisms of innuendo and slander are activated to demoralize or soften “the product” for the “big media push.”

Tabloids send photographers out to try and catch increasingly influential citizens in potentially compromising circumstances, filing the photos for possible future use. Files of social behavior are created about individual citizens to be brought forth when someone becomes a more public figure and thus offers more “social entertainment value.”

In a sense, much like the life cycle of a product manufactured by a corporation, individual citizens are often “prepped” for sale to the public by the media well in advance of any actual activity which may necessitate some form of societal intervention into that person’s life.

Perhaps that person has had a run in with some portion of that media corporation (some media corporations are multi-faceted and are involved in many other industries and not just media, with the media arm of the corporation acting as the public relations realm of the corporation. As an example, and not to pick on GE, but it is a good example of such a corporation where there are layers of manufacturing subsidiaries of all variety and then NBC, a media giant). Those such media corporations are in fact run just like a manufacturing corporation but are often more profitable because the products, people, us, the products are walking around on the face of the earth, essentially free for the taking, mining, extracting, whatever you want to call it, simply because that media corporation claims to be utilizing (hiding behind) the freedom of speech clause in The Constitution of The United States.

But somehow I don’t see that the founding fathers of the country and the framers of The Constitution and Bill of Rights had such behavior in mind as such nefarious and toxic social behavior perpetrated by the modern American media, especially, expressly, and solely for the sake of profit.

Freedom of Speech is freedom of speech. Freedom of Speech is not the right to begin creating a military style dossier designed to assassinate the character of a private citizen whom for example may disagree with what something some subsidiary of a media corporation is doing. Freedom of Speech is not the right to physically alter a person’s circumstances in order to accumulate information about that person nor does Freedom of Speech confer any right to pursue a person’s character. Freedom of Speech is just that, the right to speak or print, display, or transfer information.

Somehow I think that has been bastardized somewhere along the way perhaps by an invertebrate court afeared of what the all-powerful media may do to their careers.

Clearly there are definite benefits to having a free and open media, but there are few benefits to society if any of a parasitic and predatory one.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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